Where to Do Community Service in MissouriPosted on
Here are some suggestions for where to do court-ordered community service in Missouri.
What is Community Service?
Doing work without getting paid is not the same as community service. For it to be considered community service, you must do unpaid volunteer work for a legitimate non-profit, charitable organization.
Court-ordered community service is volunteer work that a defendant is required to do for a charitable non-profit organization as punishment for committing a crime or as a condition of probation.
For less-serious cases such as a speeding ticket, the defendant may choose to do community service instead of paying the fine. If you choose this option, you must appear in court and ask the judge for permission.
Where Can I Do Community Service?
If you have been ordered by a judge to do community service, most courts will allow you to volunteer at any location and will not require you to do the work in the city or county in which your criminal case was prosecuted.
For example, if you live in Chicago and get charged with possession of marijuana in Steelville, Missouri, your court case will be prosecuted in Steelville. If the judge requires you to do community service as a condition of your plea bargain deal, you won’t have to return to Steelville to do the work. You can complete the hours in your home town of Chicago or whatever location is convenient for you.
You can also split up the hours among several different charitable organizations, if necessary.
What If I Don’t Get All of the Community Service Hours Done by the Court Deadline?
Don’t wait until the day before the deadline to notify the court that you were unable to complete the community service hours. You will have to appear in court (or hire an attorney to appear for you) to explain to the judge why you failed to complete the hours and ask the judge for an extension of the deadline.
Judges are generally pretty understanding if a defendant can show they made a good effort to complete the community service hours. If you go to court and show the judge proof that you have completed at least some of the hours and explain why you were unable to do all of it (for example, bring proof that you are attending college full-time and working two part-time jobs), the judge will probably agree to give you more time to complete the hours.
If you don’t complete the court-ordered community service hours and you don’t appear in court on your court date, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest and the Prosecutor will withdraw the previously negotiated plea bargain deal.
Where To Do Court-Ordered Volunteer Work
You can do community service at any legitimate non-profit charitable organization, such as the following:
- Community Center
- Food Pantry
- Animal Rescue
- Salvation Army
Upon completion of the community service hours, you must ask the charitable organization for a letter on their letterhead confirming that you completed the work, then submit that letter to the court before the deadline. Some courts will allow the defendant to mail proof of completion to the court, while others require the defendant to personally appear in court to show the judge proof that they completed the work.
Some courts have a list of approved charitable organizations where defendants can do community service. If you have questions about whether a charitable organization will be approved by the court, you can consult your attorney or call the court clerk.
Please Note: Some charitable organizations welcome volunteer workers but do not accept court-ordered community service. For example, the St. Louis Humane Society does not accept court-ordered community service at their St. Louis locations, but they will allow it at their Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, MO.
Community Service in St. Louis
In addition to the charitable organizations listed above, here are some St. Louis organizations where you can volunteer:
- Open Door Animal Shelter – http://odas.org/volunteer-2/ in House Springs, MO
- LongMeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, Missouri – http://member.hsmo.org/site/PageServer?pagename=VolunteerCommunityService
- Stray Rescue – https://www.strayrescue.org/volunteer-at-our-shelter
- APA (Animal Protective Association) – https://apamo.org/volunteer/
- Animal House (cat rescue) http://www.stlcats.org/volunteer
- YMCA – https://www.gwrymca.org/community-programs/get-involved
- St. Louis Zoo – https://www.stlzoo.org/give/volunteer/
- Community Centers (such as Kirkwood Community Center, Maryland Heights Community Center, etc.)
- For animal lovers: http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/top-lists/top-volunteer-opportunities-for-animal-lovers-in-st-louis/
If you need help with your criminal case or speeding ticket, call St. Louis criminal defense & traffic law attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or email her at [email protected] for a free consultation and a flat-fee price quote for legal representation.
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